We are Russell+Olivia Brooklands.  And yes, you did just read that right.

We have a rare medical condition which means our physiology functions better when we use the plural.  And if that seems like a weird thing to mention at the top of business biography, it’s also relevant.

It’s thanks to our distinctive neuro-divergence that we’re able to notice common cultural blind-spots, which other folk seem to miss. 

The practical upshot for you is that we can probably add value to your day-to-day working life, and long term career, in ways no one else can.  How come?


Leading a double life

Ever since leaving our role as one of Zurich Insurance’s Corporate Brand Managers, in 1996, we’ve been living an extraordinary double life.

On the one hand we’ve been working as a specialist IC consultant, trainer and thought-leader.

We’ve been working with blue-chip companies (like GSK, BP and Airbus) and major national and international government bodies (such as GCHQ, the UN and the European Central Bank).  And our work has always enabled them to up their IC game.

In 2010 we were also one of the founding Directors of the Institute of Internal Communication – of which we are now a Fellow.

Healing the incurable

The other side to our life has been consumed with healing late-onset Tourette’s syndrome.  It’s still considered an incurable medical condition.  But after 28 years of work (on 28th February this year, if you’re taking notes) we managed to heal ourselves.  (The ‘plural’ thing was a necessary part of that process.)

We’re currently completing the documenting of our healing journey, which we hope to have published.  (If you’re curious, you can read the prologue here.)  And although we couldn’t have known it when we set out to heal ourselves, our journey would force us to learn an extraordinary amount about the workings of the human mind: motivations, frailties, fears and aspirations. It would also require us to ask questions which appear not to have occurred to anyone else to ask. 

And this is where things get interesting, because so much of what we’ve had to discover plays into the very purpose and effectiveness of Internal Communication.

Justifiable confidence

In particular, when you can’t fully control what your own body is going to do, moment to moment, you can be driven to learn some pretty interesting lessons about confidence.  And slowly we started to realise there was a key distinction between ‘justifiable confidence’ – and all the other kinds of ‘make-do confidence’ on which many people at work seem to rely. 

It occurred to us that maybe those people might not always have anything more robust to fall back on.  Indeed, “Fake ’til you make it” in particular seems to have become such a cultural norm, that perhaps some folk could be forgiven if they feel their self-doubt might be incurable.  When 80% of people own up to experiencing Impostor Syndrome, for at least some of their career, something’s evidently amiss.

So, although no one else seems to be using this term, it’s become clear to us that – whether in business, academia or government – ‘justifiable confidence’ is not just useful, but pretty much essential.  And not just so people can be effective, but psychologically healthy too.  It really isn’t a nice-to-have.  Everybody needs justifiable confidence, and everyone deserves it too – do they not? 

So, now we’ve healed ourselves, we’re dedicating the rest of our career to helping people at work achieve justifiable confidence – for themselves and each other.  And, fortunately, Internal Communication – our specialism – is the ideal place to start,  for two reasons. 

The critical role of Internal Communication

First, everybody communicates at work.  In fact, if you think about it, it’s the only business activity which everybody does.  (Not everyone manages people, or budgets, or IT systems, or does sales etc.  But everyone communicates, at least with their boss, and usually with colleagues and other peers.)

Second, it provides so much of the ‘raw material’ with which people think about their work – and it drives much of how they feel about doing it too. 

The more justifiable confidence people have in that raw material – and in their ability to provide it successfully for their colleagues, the more psychologically healthy they’ll be, and the better they and their organisation will perform – for the benefit of everyone that organisation serves.  In other words, enabling employees around the world to share in justifiable confidence can make life better for everyone on the planet, whether they go to work or not. 

That’s what we’re about. 

Sharing justifiable confidence

It’s why we devoted a chunk of 2023 to developing the Justifiable Confidence Model, which can make this goal a practical reality for any organisation.  It can give people justifiable confidence in the design of any and every business and government practice and system (including those for Internal Communication).  In fact, if you think about it, having justifiable confidence in IC has to come first.  After all, how is anyone to have justifiable confidence in any other working practice, if they can’t trust what they’re being told about it, or how effectively the people who put it together were communicating with one another as they were doing so?  Duuuh? 

Shared Justifiable Confidence, then, is what we’d love to share with you.  It’s not just about business; it’s about ethics; it’s about psychological well-being; it’s about employees’ sense of fulfilment, and their ability to contribute as fully as possible to one another – with a perpetual spring in their step.  It’s about everyone – including you – being able to properly switch off at the end of every working day.  And at a macro level, it’s about enabling businesses and governments to be more successful and psychologically healthy at the same time.

All this may sound a little mesianic, but in fact the nuts and bolts of Shared Justifiable Confidence are remarkably down-to-earth – even prosaic (as well as being incredibly smart, commercially).  So, if you’d like to be involved in helping the people you work with to be happier and more productive, we’d love to help you make that happen.